Cape Town - It is Human Rights Day today. And it is a time, especially now, to honour fearless and independent journalists because it is they — photographers, camera operators and writers — who have played such a crucial role in exposing the threats to, and abuses of, rights such as those contained in the Constitution.
They continue to do so in this era of fake news, “alternative facts” and where spin doctors and their outpourings tend to dominate sections of the popular media. And it was journalists, for example, along with human right groups such as the Black Sash, who played a central role in bringing the social grants debacle to pubic notice.
This is in the tradition of the origin of South Africa’s Human Rights Day that commemorates the massacre in the township of Sharpeville in 1960. Had it not been for reporter Humphrey Tyler and photographer Ian Berry, that slaughter might have been portrayed as the logical outcome of an attack on the police and it would probably never have become the trigger for global protests about apartheid.